Teaching Standards Under Fire in Missouri Again
October 26, 2015

(AP) – Proposed new learning standards for Missouri K-12 students are drawing criticism.
Recommended goals for what children should learn in each grade were presented at a State Board of Education meeting Monday.
Lawmakers in 2014 required the state board adopt standards in an attempt to ditch the national Common Core learning guidelines in place.
Suggestions for more engineering and higher-level thinking in secondary science drew praise from educators.
But others criticized learning goals for some subjects as disjointed between grades. An opponent said the proposals were too similar to Common Core, while some questioned the need to move away from Common Core.
A number of Common Core critics blasted the process used to shape the recommendations.
The state board aims to vote on learning goals in March.

Black Students Suspended at High Rate Than White Elementary Students in Missouri
February 23, 2015

(AP) – A new study shows that Missouri suspended black elementary students at a higher rate than any other U.S. state, with the gap between suspensions of black and white students also tops in the country.
The report released Monday by the Center for Civil Rights Remedies at UCLA’s Civil Rights Project at UCLA found that Missouri elementary schools suspended 14.4 percent of their black students at least once during the 2011-12 school year, which is the latest data available.
That compares with 1.8 percent of their white Missouri counterparts and 7.6 percent of black students nationwide.
In Kansas, 1.6 percent of all elementary students were suspended at least once. That rate was 6.5 percent for black students, 5.4 percentage points higher than the rate for white students.

Legislature Looks at Creating Statewide “Achievement District” for Failing Schools
January 30, 2014

(AP) – A Missouri Senate committee is working through ideas for addressing struggling school districts and a law that forces unaccredited districts to pay for students to transfer out.

The Senate Education Committee examined legislation Wednesday sponsored by its chairman, Republican David Pearce of Warrensburg. The panel focused last week on a proposal by several St. Louis-area senators, and Pearce says there will be hearings on other proposals in the next two weeks.

Pearce says the committee needs to decide what is important and what elements should be included in a bill.

Pearce’s measure provides partly for creating a statewide “achievement district” to manage underperforming schools in unaccredited districts.
The state currently has three unaccredited districts. Kansas City is the largest one. Two others in the St. Louis area are the Normandy and Riverview Garden districts.
The proposal would also let the State Board of Education transfer underperforming schools in provisionally accredited school systems to the achievement district

Nixon Continues Education Push, Promises More Money for K-12 Budget
October 24, 2013

(AP) – Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon said Wednesday he will propose “a real investment in our K-12 classrooms and make a significant down payment” toward full funding for public schools.

The Democratic governor wants to fully fund Missouri’s school formula by the time he leaves office in January 2017. He said the improving economy has created an opportunity to invest in Missouri’s children.

The school formula was created in 2005 by a state law and establishes funding based on a per-pupil spending target. The new formula was to be fully phased in by 2013, but school funding has fallen short of the target every year since 2010, largely because of an economic downturn that squeezed state revenues.

The budget taking effect July 1 provides almost $3.1 billion in basic aid to elementary and secondary schools, which is an increase of $66 million from the previous year but still about $600 million short of what is called for by the formula. The amount demanded by the formula changes annually, and state officials project this year’s funding level would be $556 million below the target for the next state budget.

Speaking to education officials in Jefferson City, Nixon said he also wants to expand access to early childhood education and will continue implementing accountability measures such as the Common Core education standards and the state’s new school evaluation system.

In addition to funding, a key education issue has been a state law allowing students in unaccredited school districts to transfer to nearby school systems at the unaccredited district’s expense.

Students in the St. Louis area for the first time this academic year were allowed to leave the unaccredited Riverview Gardens and Normandy school systems. Figures reported at the start of the school year indicate 1,451 students transferred from Riverview Gardens and 1,189 left Normandy.

State education officials in September recommended $6.8 million in state aid for Normandy, which is projected to run out of money in March. The proposal would need approval from Nixon and state lawmakers.

Nixon told reporters Wednesday he does not expect that step will be necessary at this point.

Missouri School To Post Student Transfer Info on Web Sites
June 28, 2013

(AP) – Missouri education officials have updated their guidance for local schools dealing with the transfer of students from unaccredited districts.

The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education says school districts should post on their websites a student transfer application, details about the admissions process and the current number of available slots in each grade level. That applies only for schools in the same or neighboring county as an unaccredited district.

Missouri currently has three unaccredited school districts – Kansas City and the suburban St. Louis districts of Normandy and Riverview Gardens.

Earlier this month, the Missouri Supreme Court upheld a 1993 state law requiring unaccredited school districts to pay for students to attend other nearby schools.